Dealing with Plagiocephaly: A Mom’s Guide

Head shape

As a parent, it can be concerning when you notice that your baby’s head is not shaping up as expected. If you’ve been told that your little one has plagiocephaly, also known as flat head syndrome, you may be feeling overwhelmed and uncertain about how to address this condition. However, there are steps you can take to help your baby’s head shape improve. Here’s a mom’s guide to dealing with plagiocephaly.

Understanding Plagiocephaly

Plagiocephaly is a condition characterized by the flattening of one side of the baby’s head, often as a result of external pressure. This can occur when babies spend a lot of time lying on their backs, as recommended for safe sleep. While plagiocephaly doesn’t pose any serious health risks, it can affect the cosmetic appearance of the baby’s head and may lead to concerns about long-term development.

Treatment Options

There are several approaches to addressing plagiocephaly, and the most appropriate course of action will depend on the severity of the condition and the age of the baby. Some common treatment options include:

  • Positional Therapy: Encouraging tummy time and changing the baby’s position while sleeping can help alleviate pressure on the affected area of the head.

  • Helmets: In more severe cases, a custom-fitted helmet may be recommended to encourage symmetrical head growth. This treatment is typically most effective for babies between 3 and 18 months old.

  • Physical Therapy: Some infants may benefit from targeted exercises and stretches to improve neck and head muscle strength and flexibility.

Support and Guidance

Dealing with plagiocephaly can be an emotional journey for parents, and it’s important to seek support and guidance throughout the process. Your pediatrician can provide valuable information and recommendations, and connecting with other parents who have experienced similar challenges can offer reassurance and practical advice.


While plagiocephaly may initially cause worry and uncertainty, it’s important to remember that there are effective strategies for addressing the condition. By staying informed, seeking support, and following the guidance of medical professionals, parents can help their babies achieve more symmetrical head shape and development.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is plagiocephaly preventable?

A: While some factors contributing to plagiocephaly, such as genetics, cannot be prevented, parents can take proactive steps to minimize the risk, such as providing supervised tummy time and varying the baby’s sleeping positions.

Q: Will my baby need a helmet for plagiocephaly?

A: Not all cases of plagiocephaly require helmet therapy. The decision to use a helmet is based on the severity of the flattening and the age of the baby. Your pediatrician can advise on the most appropriate course of action.

Q: How long does it take to see improvement with treatment?

A: The time it takes to see improvement can vary depending on the treatment approach and the individual baby. It’s important to follow the recommended treatment plan and monitor progress with the guidance of healthcare providers.